The Dallas Stars haven't been playing perfect hockey, but their third-period play has been making up for it, says Mike Heika.
The Dallas Morning News' resident NHL authority takes a look at how the team has used persistence, focus and good habits to earn the top spot in the
Best-ern Western Conference, where only one game separates them from the league-leading Montreal Canadiens:
...Dallas is 4-1-0 when tied after two periods, and that speaks to a poise and patience that wasn't there last season. Dallas was outscored 101-74 in third periods dujring the 2014-15 campaign and missed the playoffs. They have outscored the opposition 18-11 this season....
"We've been a lot better in the third periods than we were last year," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "Some of that is patience, some of that is timely scoring."
And some of it is the team's improved netminding, as the goalie platoon of Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi continues to hold down the Stars' end. Lehtonen, in his second start in 18 days, was snubbed by the home team for a Star of the Game designation but looked authoritative as he stopped 30 of 31 shots for a .968 SV%.
"It's just trusting what we're doing," Lehtonen said. "We don't try to do too much. We just keep going. It's not going to turn this way every time, but it's nice to see this year."
There's more from Lindy Ruff and Colton Sceviour in Heika's game analysis. [SportsDayDFW]
If you didn't get the Stars' postgame show last night and thereby missed Radek Faksa wearing The Sheriff Hat o' Love, we got you covered.
Here's the latest edition of the Emporium, in which Razor is loving the sweet boy-band harmony on the Stars' fourth line. All aboard the Texas Pain Train!
Jason Demers is the Stars' biggest clown off the ice, but he takes hockey very seriously – and says outright that "a goal of mine is to play well so that I can stay here." [SportsDayDFW]
And since we're near the subject right now, what will Jim Nill do about the team's pile-up at defense? Matt Pryor speculates. [The Hockey Writers]
If you've been asking about the songs the Stars used in this season's arena open (and why at least one of them appears to be Shazam-proof), wonder no more! Grubes is here to help put your questions to rest.
Holiday On The Moon by Puscifer and The Rising by Sick Puppies (custom for the Stars, not released yet)! https://t.co/4dP5BNzkwB— Michael Gruber® (@tweetgrubes) November 5, 2015
The Hockey Hall of Fame is getting worldlier, says Dan Rosen: For the second year in a row, and only the second time in history, the 2015 HOF class features four NHL legends from four different nations. Check out some video from yesterday's induction ceremony. [NHL]
One of the players who is suing the NHL over its handling of head injuries says the head of the NHL Alumni Association is "screwing over" former players and suggests that potential additional parties to the suit will not join out of fear of being blackballed by their teams. [TSN]
Someone please cut Pascal Dupuis a health break. The Pittsburgh Penguins forward went to the hospital "after experiencing symptoms that may or may not be related to his blood clot history." He won't play against the Calgary Flames tonight, but at least he's tested negative for further issues. [Puck Daddy]
Injuries are making it rough for players and their teams all over the league. Joshua Kloke has a roundup, from Connor McDavid and his clavicle to Jiri Sekac and his ankle. [Sports Illustrated]
No one keeps clean hands in the Murder Death Kill Division. Not even Jonathan Toews. Here's the Chicago Blackhawks captain getting into it with Adam Henrique on account of Taser is losing to the New Jersey Devils. Final score: Hawks 2, Devils 4.
Fight video: Jonathan Toews vs. Adam Henrique https://t.co/36dvwQVH50— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) November 7, 2015
Los Angeles Kings netminder Jonathan Quick got so frustrated during a Thursday-night loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets that he nearly fought their entire team. Sergei Bobrovsky was thisclose to throwing in the goalie fight that would have made this a brawl for the ages. [SB Nation]
Quick would like to personally fight everyone in the NHL. No..in the world. pic.twitter.com/aF1t897Zpk— Stephanie (@myregularface) November 6, 2015
And Minnesota Wild LW Zach Parise is out of the action for at least "a couple of games" after a hit by Nashville Predators LW (and former Star) James Neal injured his right knee on Thursday night. The cap-strapped Wild are now skating 11 forwards, because they don't have the space for a call-up. [St. Paul Pioneer Press]
Meanwhile, did the Wild's 2016 Stadium Series jersey make its debut in an eBay listing before the team could hold an official unveiling? [Icethetics]
The Montreal Canadiens love their Winter Classic gear so much they made a video about it.
This is what the Canadiens-Bruins Winter Classic will look like, just as a reminder.
Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby is the latest to play What the [Blank] with The Players' Tribune. Find out what he's been binge-watching and which White Stripes song he'd choose for his entrance music. [The Players' Tribune]
The Sporting News celebrated the Detroit Red Wings' legendary Class of '89 by formulating a list of the best draft classes for every NHL team. This link goes to the main article – by flipping through the slide show, you can keep an eye open for future Stars like Brett Hull and Andy Moog – but the link in brackets goes directly to the North/Stars page. [The Sporting News]
Finally: Are you already missing Halloween? Then enjoy this video of the legendary Peter Forsberg disguising himself as "Kent," a beer-league player with atom-league skills, and pranking a club in Stockholm. [BarDown]